There’s a new outdoor classroom at St Paul’s Community Primary School, where youngsters sit on tree stump seats for lessons.
The spot is surrounded by a willow-weave fence, which pupils helped to make, and soon straw bales will arrive for added wind-proofing.
Next on an ambitious “to do” list are a mini roundhouse, to be created using an ancient building technique, wattle and daub, and an igloo that will be made from plastic milk bottles.
Soon the school will receive 500 new trees, including sycamore, birch and oak, from The Woodland Trust, to extend its woodland learning area
at the far side of the field.
School sports coordinator Andy Dowling says outdoor learning boosts children’s confidence, team working and engagement with lessons.
Pupils will help build the roundhouse and the igloo so they can contrast Celtic building methods and materials with modern methods using recyclable plastic.
Andy leads outdoor activities, as well as school crafts, and says: “I have got the best job in the world because I teach kids all of the cool stuff.”
Head teacher Kira Nicholls says outdoor learning benefits children in many ways and provides experiences that might otherwise be lost to youngsters who rely on technology for entertainment.
Miss Nicholls said: “Outdoor learning is really about children’s engagement in lessons, not only in the first-hand experiences in the outdoors but also when they get back into the classroom they are more focused, more enthusiastic and show better noticing skills. It also supports collaborative working and positive peer relationships.
“A lot of children use technology at home for their entertainment and a lot of the skills that I grew up developing – and being outdoors – are being lost.”